Bullied Teenager Takes Own Life in Tennessee
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 7:54 AM
Maybe this time someone will face malicious harassment charges:
Students at a local school are grieving a classmate. Friends say the young man took his own life because he couldn't take any more bullying. And they say school officials knew about the torment but didn't do enough to stop it. Friends say that kids bullied Jacob Rogers at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but in the past few months it had become so bad he dropped out of school.
And Wednesday, he ended his life.
"He started coming home his senior year saying 'I don't want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a f****, they call me gay, a queer,'" friend Kaelynn Mooningham said. Kaelynn said her friend Jacob felt ignored. "Jacob told me no one was helping him. He constantly was going to guidance," she said.
Kaelynn says Jacob lived with his grandmother who primarily took care of him. She found a couple notes that Jacob left for her. In those notes Jacob left passwords to his email and his phone so investigators could determine why he chose to kill himself.
Does harassment get more malicious than harassment that drives a kid to suicide?
UPDATE: From the report:
Friends of Jacob's family say they likely don't have enough money to hold a funeral. Donations for a funeral are being accepted at... a local tattoo shop in Ashland City.
It sounds like this kid was failed by most of the adults in his life—his parents, his teachers, his school administrators. I wish to God that we could've reached this kid and helped him while he was still alive. (This news breaks my heart; each of these unnecessary deaths just breaks my fucking heart.) But we can come through for him now. I'm not comfortable asking people to send checks to random tattoo parlors. So Slog—along with Joe My God and Towleroad—is asking its reader to make a small donation to a Jacob Rogers Fund that we've established. We want to raise $5,000 to cover Jacob's funeral and other end-of-life expenses. Anything raised over 5K will be split between GLSEN, the Trevor Project, the ACLU's LGBT youth project, and "It Gets Better" Project. Please consider making a small donation. A lot of good people read Slog, JoeMyGod, and Towleroad, so don't feel like you have to break the bank. Small donations from lots of people is all it will take.
Let's bury this kid. Then let's get work to making it better for other bullied kids out there.
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone's generosity, we've met and surpassed our goal, raising over $9,000. More than enough to cover the family's expenses, and the rest will be split between the organizations listed above. Thanks to everyone who donated!